County Extension Agent Benji Henderson said that 2013 may not break any records for Parmer County corn production, but area farmers are just relieved to get their combines in the field. With the help of a few timely summer showers from mother nature, their corn silage harvest is now winding up.
"The last few years have been pretty tough on us with the drought," Henderson said. "You know, corn is going to use quite a bit of water, and with our growing dairy industry and the feed yards, we're going to grow quite a bit of corn for silage. We still do grow some grain corn and some white corn, which are our food grade corns, but the big chunk of our corn is going to go to silage."
Henderson performed a simple visual field test to find this acreage is still days away from cutting. This silage corn was some of the last planted in his county, so it will be last on the list for harvest as well.
"We'll start planting corn somewhere about mid April and we'll finish up somewhere late in June, first of July on our late silage corn," Henderson said. "The starch line is just now starting to move, we want to get that down since we figure about 6% of our silage weight is going to be in our ear, we've got to find that starch line and that stuff is still pretty juicy."
And as far as corn yields and total acreage in Parmer County are concerned, Henderson is happy to see the crop coming in mostly above average. But some corn has been replaced by what is being called the water sipping alternative, grain sorghum.
"Both on the silage and grain side of things we're full board into corn harvest. So far yields coming back that are being reported to us are average to better than average mostly across the county. We've heard some highs of 33, 34 ton corn in places. Of course there's been some down to about 16-18 tons," Henderson said. "We're probably somewhere to the tune this year of about 65,000 acres of corn here across the county. All the way from Ray to Lazbuddie and from up at Black to down here in Farwell. Milo has got its share with the declining aquifer and the lower water and the water restrictions we're under, we're looking at grain sorghum taking the place of some corn on some limited irrigation."
Henderson said that as harvest concludes this fall and farmers begin to look ahead for 2014 planting, he expects corn will still be a favorite simply due to the high demand in the area from the local dairies and feed yards.